Renewable energy boost
Power company asks FTC to increase RER capacity
The Barbados Light & Power Company Limited (BLPC) has applied to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) to increase its capacity to accept electricity from renewable energy customers.
Managing director designate Roger Blackman confirmed that the company was seeking to have the 7-megawatt cap that exists under the Renewable Energy Rider (RER) programme increased by one-megawatt.
The power company has approximately 700 kilowatts of capacity available for residential customers in the RER programme.
The BLPC announced last week that it was running out of capacity on the grid and therefore had to carefully manage the remaining space.
Speaking to reporters today via teleconference, Blackman said: “This [one megawatt] just gives additional buffer. We haven’t actually hit that point at which we would have been turning anyone down or turning anyone back.”
Blackman said how many new customers the increased capacity would allow to come on board would depend on the size of their renewable energy systems.
The engineer said the rate and levels of intermittent renewable sources had to be managed “very carefully”, adding that stability and reliability of the grid needed to be taken into consideration as generation systems were introduced to the grid.
He said as a result, through an Intermittent Renewable Energy Penetration study, the BLPC was trying to “determine what mitigating measures and what associated costs” would come with the increasing levels of systems. That study should be completed and made public by October.
When asked what was the ideal capacity, Blackman responded: “We have set a level now based on initial assessment internally. The overall objective was to ensure that we put an amount on or have an amount on the network that does compliment reliability and we are comfortable that at this point the levels that we are working with will not compromise reliability.”
The study will also evaluate energy storage.
Blackman said based on initial assessment, however, the storage options “appear to be uneconomic at this stage.”
“But we are evaluating that as one mitigating measure that would allow increased intermittent renewable [systems] on the network.”
According to regulator administrator at the BLPC, Kim Griffith-Tang How, once the power company is allowed the increased capacity, it would have to get guidance from the FTC on how that would be split between commercial and residential customers.